Get into the giving spirit

By Observer editorial December 10, 2012 01:55 pm

A little more than a week ago, we had a story about some residents in Union, Wallowa and Baker counties who run a unique program to help spread some holiday cheer throughout the world.

Each year, the residents of Union, Wallowa and Baker counties make a major contribution to an international program, Operation Christmas Child Shoebox, that brings in numerous shoeboxes filled with gifts for children in third world and war-torn countries, those in places struck by natural disasters, in remote places and in other areas.

The group brought in 871 shoeboxes filled with gifts for children. The boxes were gift-wrapped by 25 to 30 people at a party at First Christian Church last month. The shoeboxes from the three counties were among a total of 12,642 packed and given to the 2012 collection by individuals, groups and clubs in the Eastern Oregon and Tri-Cities area of Washington. This year’s total topped last year’s by more than 1,200.

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths civic-minded individuals will go to help others. Not because I don’t believe in helping others mind you, but rather because in this day and age, finding the time to do much of anything other than work and take care of one’s family can be a real challenge. None of the volunteers involved with Operation Christmas Child Shoebox — or who give of their time to local food banks or organizations like the Salvation Army, United Way of Eastern Oregon or Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries — are required to give their time. They could just as easily forget about helping
their fellow man in a time of need and focus on themselves.

Instead, they spend the time every holiday season to make sure those less fortunate around our region and around the world have an opportunity to enjoy Christmas.

I know there are several worthwhile programs in the area who help those less fortunate, and all of these charitable programs deserve the thanks of this entire community. The mission they fulfill every year is simply amazing.

Eastern Oregon residents, whether it’s La Grande, Island City, Imbler, Cove, Enterprise, Wallowa, North Powder, Baker City, Ontario, Vale or Nyssa, come to the help of neighbors and members of the community who need it most, time and time again, day after day, month after month, year after year. That’s part of Eastern Oregon’s ethos; it’s ingrained in the local population. But still, it’s accepted knowledge that more people get into the giving spirit around the holiday season, so this year, it remains critical that residents of the area help out charitable organizations where they can.

It really is that important.


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